Eight years after its formation, the UCSB chapter of Surfrider seems to be working harder than ever to protect the local coastline.
The Surfrider Foundation boasts 55 chapters located along the East, West, Gulf, Hawaiian and Puerto Rican coasts and aims to educate people about the effects of human interaction with the ocean.
“It feels like we’re really gathering a lot of steam,” Chapter Co-chair and environmental studies major Jeff McMillan said. “We’ve been working to keep the local beaches clean but still make sure people are having fun while involved.”
The chapter has an e-mail list of 500 plus, and roughly 60 members attended the last meeting of Winter Quarter. Although the group has finished its meetings for the Quarter, it showed a new surfing film called “Strapped” and two other films in I.V. Theater, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
“A lot of people in the program don’t surf,” McMillan said. “The only two requirements are that you love the ocean and you want to have fun. The meetings are really just an open conversation about what’s going on with the chapter, and then we usually head over to Woodstock’s to watch surf videos and unwind afterwards.”
Isla Vista Surfrider is coordinating activities that involve cleaning local beaches, as well as Del Playa Drive, several times a month. The frequent crowds on DP often drop cups and other litter, which, if not picked up right away, makes its way into the ocean through storm drains.
“The storm drain getting clogged with cups is a pretty unique problem in I.V.,” chapter advisor and environmental studies major Craig Revell said. “We’ve been going door to door on DP handing out informative fliers and asking residents to throw cups away.”
The chapter’s Education Committee is working with I.V. Elementary School and Girls Inc., an after school day-care program for young girls, in an effort to teach children about the coastline. Members from I.V. Surfrider will take children out to a beach clean-up to directly involve them in protecting the coastline.
“We try to teach them about the water cycle and the connection between land and ocean,” Revell said. “It gives them an opportunity to do some art and write letters to politicians concerning environmental affairs.”
The chapter has created the Sands Path Action Committee in conjunction with the university to rejuvenate the rugged, often muddy path at the end of Del Playa Dr. that leads down to Sands Beach. Surfrider has also created the Blue Water Task Force to help monitor bacteria levels along Isla Vista’s shores.
“The Shoreline Preservation Fund has just granted us $500 so that we can do testing in three locations,” McMillan said. “We’re going to study the bacteria levels and hopefully have those published so people have a better idea of what’s going on in the water.”
Surfrider will resume meetings next Quarter, which are usually held on Wednesday nights in South Hall 1430. Anyone is encouraged to join the e-mail list by writing .
“I.V. Surfrider is unique because it’s one of the only environmental organizations on campus that focuses on coastal issues.” Co-chair Bob Ellis said. “The general feeling for those interested in joining is that it’s really your responsibility. If you enjoy the beach, you should want to protect it.”